Negotiation is a recurrent part of everyone’s daily life. You might not realise it but you are always negotiating either with yourself or with other people. I am one person who has on several occasions underscored the importance of collaboration in business. Collaboration comes in many forms some of which involves joint ventures, strategic alliances or partnerships. To enter such arrangements negotiation is inevitable. There are also routine business activities such as procurements and even interacting with consumers. It can be negotiating for price reviews or slackening of payment terms – negotiation is inescapable. Since it is unavoidable it is wise for you to know how to effectively negotiate.

Create An Illusion Of Control

Effective negotiation relies on you giving the other person an illusion of control. The moment they feel they are in control (when they are not) you assume the advantage. Here is the trick, people feel they are in control when they are doing most of the talking. With that being the case you can use it to create that illusion of control. Remember that in negotiating your thrust must be to extract as much information as you can from the other person. Then you subsequently use that information to gain ground – in an inconspicuously smart manner. How then exactly do you create that illusion of control? I will get into more detail as we move along.

Common Mistake: People immediately want to impose themselves on the other person. They do so by arm-twisting the other person to see things from their perspective. No one wants to be made to look foolish by you forcing them to admit they are wrong and you are right. Do not impose yourself on the other person it only drives them far away from any prospects of common ground.

Ask Strategic Questions

I am now getting into how you create the illusion of control. Ask questions that do two things namely, cause the other person to think and make them feel in control. In case you are wondering what type of questions those are, it is so simple. What and How questions can achieve those two intended outcomes. By asking them questions that make them think you will be seeking to make them let their guard down. You see, it is easy for one to speak about things they anticipated rather than what they did not see coming. After all, in much chatter one eventually says more than they should without even realizing it.

Subtly Mirror What They Say – Here Is How…

It has been studied and proven that repeating the last few words (3 at most) of what the other person says last before you respond works wonders. How strategic can that be you might wonder. Well, it has been found to make the other person comfortable enough to be open with and to you. They will unawares feel like you relate with them or you understand them. They will let their guard down and reveal more information that you can feast on. For instance, they say, ‘I was in a hurry to rush home’ just before you are due to respond. You can simply repeat ‘rush home’ out loud to them, more like you are seeking their validation that you heard them right. It is more like you are confirming if it is what they said or you are just saying it out for no particular reason. The magic this works especially if you do it several times during the negotiation will stun you. Amazingly some people naturally do this but without even knowing the psychological science behind it.

Use These Trigger Phrases – ‘You Are Right’ Or ‘That Is Right’

In negotiation, the other person wants something and feels something(s). The last thing you want to do is to make them feel like what they want or feel does not matter. Remember the common mistake I highlighted earlier on – imposition. When they point out something about what they want or feel you do well to strategically use these two phrases in response. In essence, you are somewhat empathising with them but to gain ground. This does not ignore the fact that at times genuine empathy can play out in your favour.

Still On Empathy…

When people say something, they reveal certain things about their emotions. If you want to get on top of things, demonstrate to them that you see those emotions. Consider this example, ‘it seems like you are scared of…’. It significantly unloads whatever guns they would have loaded for that negotiation. Tactfully doing this from time to time during the discussion or negotiation will cause them to let their guard down without even noticing it.

This all might sound so simple but that is how FBI negotiators handle hostage situations. These are tried and tested approaches that can make you a master negotiator. So I am encouraging you to put them to the test during your business ventures. You will discover even more insights as you do these things again and again.